—     I wish these written letters could morph into the sounds they signify,  then you’d get the genuine sound of . . . what to call it? It’s not really abuse – but it’s not really respect, either, and it shoots to hell the declaration of “dignity,” which many – all, really – LTC facilities claim as their “holy grail.” After all, we are “elders,” with all the sacrosanct connotations the word embraces. Me? I’m eighty-four. A decrepit vessel …

— Awakening Redux II, by Dick Weinman, The Thin Edge of Dignity As a resident of an ALF, with my cognition still intact, “senior moments” at a minimum, not yet in the haze of dementia, I’m aware of “the geriatric communication mode” which seems to be, smile and speak in an ascending high pitch. I know all about smiley voices. It’s not just the caregivers or people talking to old folks. I once was a smiley voice. As a Voice Over …

— Awakening Redux I, by Dick Weinman, The Thin Edge of Dignity “Darkness shows through the windows, a few stars flicker, the moon is a lighted roundness, an orange haze circles the top of the street light.” Those were the opening words of the second blog I wrote about my life in an Assisted Living Facility (ALF). “Rise and Shine: Waking at the ALF” was posted in the fall of 2013; however, I entered the ALF in 2006. At the time, …

— Everyone’s Daughter, by Dick Weinman, The Thin Edge of Dignity She’s here every morning. When I go to breakfast in the dining room at my ALF, there she is, sharing a coffee moment with her mother. Some days she’s here twice, mornings before she goes to work, and at dinner at 5:00, after she returns from her work. It’s not just her mother who benefits from her care and affection, it’s everyone who happens to be gathered for the meal. …

— You’ll Never Walk Alone, by Dick Weinman, The Thin Edge of Dignity The uplifting melody and inspirational lyric of You’ll Never Walk Alone, have made the Rodgers and Hammerstein song a hymn-like source of hope for millions of people around the world – even for the Liverpool football team. It’s their team song. The song’s title also has special meaning for me. At eighty-two, I’m on the final journey of my life. Disabled, I’m in need of a caring hand …

— How? Who? Why? – Questions of Care, by Dick Weinman, The Thin Edge of Dignity I stand with my back toward her, my pants tugging my ankles. I bend over, and grasp the cold metal handicap bar. She wields the toilet paper, extends her arm, and wipes. I should be glad. I can’t do for myself. Toileting me is one of the Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and one of the reasons I pay $5000+ each month for my residency …

— Decisions, Decisions, Decisions, by Dick Weinman, The Thin Edge of Dignity I waddle my wheelchair down the hallway of my ALF to the dining room. But, I’m not alone. I see other people marching, like me, to learn what awaits them for breakfast. Some of the residents power their wheelchairs, others hunch over walkers, some lean on a cane, or walk erect – gathering from two directions, ready to make their choice for breakfast. The decision making is a new …

— TP or not TP, by Dick Weinman, The Thin Edge of Dignity When I heard about it, I couldn’t believe it. But, when I saw it in black and white – actually, the font text was Arial blue – I knew the rumors were true. Coming straight from the horse’s mouth, was the statement: [ALF NAME WITHELD] “has agreed to provide a basic supply of toilet paper, 4 rolls per week maximum, and any resident who needs more than that …

— THEY’RE STILL GONE  Please Come Back by Dick Weinman, The Thin Edge of Dignity The tables in the dining room of our ALF are still tissueless. No longer does the plaintive request of the residents, “Please pass the tissues.” resonate through the dining room. Residents continue to suffer: there’s no way to blow our noses – unless you soil shirt tails, place mats, or napkins. We need the return of tissues: the Kleenex, the Puffs, the Marcals, the Angel Softs, …

— COMFORTABLY UNCOMFORTABLE by Dick Weinman, The Thin Edge of Dignity “Why do you stay there?” she asked me. I was winding up a telephone conversation with Martha, a long ago student and long time friend. She was in her condo in Seattle, I was in my room in my assisted living facility in Oregon. I had been complaining about living in an ALF, and griping about happenings in this one, particularly. “If it’s uncomfortable living there, why not leave?” Without …